December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Happy the man whose mouth brings him no grief, who is not stung by remorse for sin.
- Happy the man whose conscience does not reproach him, who has not lost hope.
- 1 Wealth ill becomes the mean man; and to the miser, of what use is gold?
- What he denies himself he collects for others, and in his possessions a stranger will revel.
- To whom will he be generous who is stingy with himself and does not enjoy what is his own?
- None is more stingy than he who is stingy with himself; he punishes his own miserliness.
- If ever he is generous, it is by mistake; and in the end he displays his greed.
- In the miser's opinion his share is too small;
- he refuses his neighbor and brings ruin on himself.
- The miser's eye is rapacious for bread, but on his own table he sets it stale.
- My son, use freely whatever you have and enjoy it as best you can;
- Remember that death does not tarry, nor have you been told the grave's appointed time.
- Before you die, be good to your friend, and give him a share in what you possess.
- Deprive not yourself of present good things, let no choice portion escape you.
- Will you not leave your riches to others, and your earnings to be divided by lot?
- Give, take, and treat yourself well, for in the nether world there are no joys to seek.
- All flesh grows old, like a garment; the age-old law is: All must die.
- As with the leaves that grow on a vigorous tree: one falls off and another sprouts-- So with the generations of flesh and blood: one dies and another is born.
- All man's works will perish in decay, and his handiwork will follow after him.
- 2 Happy the man who meditates on wisdom, and reflects on knowledge;
- Who ponders her ways in his heart, and understands her paths;
- Who pursues her like a scout, and lies in wait at her entry way;
- Who peeps through her windows, and listens at her doors;
- Who encamps near her house, and fastens his tent pegs next to her walls;
- Who pitches his tent beside her, and lives as her welcome neighbor;
- Who builds his nest in her leafage, and lodges in her branches;
- Who takes shelter with her from the heat, and dwells in her home.
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1 [3-16] The miser does no good even to himself (Sirach 14:3-10); wealth should be wisely used during life, for it must be left behind at death (Sirach 14:11-16). In the light of the gospel, generosity has a higher motivation and promise of reward than the Old Testament writer could propose. Cf Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:32-34.
2 [14:20-15:20] From his social teaching the sage now turns to consider individual responsibility. Happiness is to be found in the pursuit and possession of wisdom (Sirach 14:20-15:5). Joy and honor are given, not to the sinner (Sirach 14:7-9), but to him who fears God and observes his law (Sirach 14:1-6, 10). The sinner is fully responsible for his conduct because God, who sees all things (Sirach 14:18-19), is not the author of wickedness (Sirach 15:11-13, 20): he gives to every man the liberty to choose between good and evil (Sirach 15:14-17).
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